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Ryan Tannehill, Who Was Mentored As A Rookie, Doesn’t Feel A Need To Mentor Malik Willis

Ryan Tannehill was a rookie in a tough situation in 2012 when the Miami Dolphins drafted him in the first round. He was competing for the starting job against veteran Matt Moore, who was much more experienced and had been the starter the year before.

And yet, despite the awkward circumstance, Tannehill and Moore grew to accept and even like each other. They became friends. And when Moore lost the starting job to Tannehill by the end of training camp, he still decided he was going to be a mentor to Tannehill.

“It could have been a weird dynamic, but he accepted me into the (quarterbacks) room and helped me along as much as he could,” Tannehill said in December of 2012. “Then in camp, even once I was named starter, he’s been nothing but a help to me. He’s told me multiple times, anything I need, he’s there for me.

“He’s a second pair of eyes out on the field. I can say, ‘Hey, what’d you see on this?’ and he’s there to tell me.”

Tannehill’s role has changed a decade later. He’ll be 34 years old in July and although he’s no longer with the Dolphins, he’s the incumbent starter in Tennessee — a team that drafted quarterback Malik Willis in the third round of last week’s NFL draft.

TENNESSEE TITANS END THE SLIDE FOR MALIK WILLIS AND NOW HAVE A TANNEHILL SUCCESSOR

So how does Tannehill feel about helping his new rookie teammate out, knowing that Willis will ultimately try to take the starting job?

“I mean, that’s part of being in the quarterback room, the same room,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “We’re competing against each other. We’re watching the same tape, we’re doing the same drills. I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing.”

TITANS AND MALIK WILLIS MANAGE EXPECTATIONS BUT EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN

Tannehill reported to the Titans’ offseason program on Monday, after missing the early stages while he was back home in Florida.

He faced questions from reporters that ranged from how he overcame the playoff loss last January, in which Tannehill threw three interceptions, to his thought on losing receiver A.J. Brown as a teammate.

His answers:

Tannehill said the playoff loss to Cincinnati is “a deep scar” and that he “didn’t get a whole lot of sleep for weeks and weeks” after it happened.

Indeed, Tannehill said he used therapy sessions to get over the pain of his performance in the loss.

The Titans traded Brown, the team’s top offensive weapon last season, because the team decided his contract demands were too rich for its salary cap. Brown went to Philadelphia and ultimately signed a 4-year contract worth $100 million, including $57.22 million in guaranteed money.

“It hurt,” Tannehill said of losing his top receiving target. The pain spanned the gamut for the quarterback “professionally” and “personally” and was something of a surprise.

“I thought everyone would get it done,” Tannehill said.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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